Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: Young Adult | Dystopia
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own (goodreads).
Wow. Scythe asks a lot of great questions and explores many shades of gray.
Plot: Shusterman wove a future where humanity was all but perfected. With the lack of disease and war to take its usual casualties, society selected several individuals to serve as Scythes, basically your modern day Grim Reapers. I absolutely adored the direction that Shusterman took with this novel. He explored what truly made humans and wasn't afraid to create morally gray protagonists.
It was not an action-packed novel, but the novel moved at a steady pace. Citra and Rowan were chosen by a Scythe to compete for a chance to become a Scythe themselves, I would say it took place over the course of nine months, even though I sometimes had trouble gauging how much time had passed. I loved how each event helped shape our characters and how Citra and Rowan had the freedom to explore every aspect of Scythedom. The novel was told from both Citra and Rowan's perspectives along with journal excerpts from various Scythes. Scythe's format was engaging and keep me intrigued at all times.
Characters: Citra and Rowan were two very different characters who were joined together by one unpleasant situation. Citra came from the loving family and was book smart. Rowan came from a large family and felt like he was just wandering through life with only one person who truly cared for him. I enjoyed reading from both perspectives and learning how they were dealing with learning how to skillfully glean - or kill - a person. We were also introduced to a great diverse group of characters who were arguably more interesting than Citra and Rowan. Given the events of Scythe, I can't wait o see how all of our characters develop further.
Worldbuilding: My jaw will not stop dropping from how well-crafted the world of Scythe was. Shusterman flawlessly explained the negative effects of humanity progressing and thought of every aspect humanity's perfection could impact daily life. I don't know if I can properly articulate how impressed I was with the world of Scythe: the terminology didn't seem out of place, the diversity was great, and the geography was just so well thought out. Two thumbs way up for Neal Shusterman!
Short N Sweet: Scythe made me think and care for the characters, I can't wait to return to this world.